Rainbow Rhapsody in Alaska

Produced, filmed, and narrated by Joseph Daniel, edited by Joseph Daniel and Michael Grasseschi, additional footage by Grant Wiswell and Brent O’Connor, 2011 – Wild on the Fly angler Rich Jorgensen and filmmaker Joe Daniel travel to what surely must be Mecca for rainbow trout - the famed rivers of Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed. It's early season so the smolt run is still on and the guys throw streamers to big bows on the Copper River and American Creek. Rich also finds some righteous dry fly action for trophy-size grayling on the Kijak. It's all about messin' around in boats and planes, and being pampered by outfitter Chad Hewitt and the five-star comfort of his Rainbow River Lodge. Did we say Mecca? Maybe we meant Nirvana!

Rich and Joe return to Alaska in late September and are joined by anglers Steve Jensen, Mike Dominick and Rich Lirtzman for a four-day float trip down the length of Moraine Creek. This is the time of huge rainbows (think fatter than a football!) and huge grizzly bears (think bigger than a small car!), and the group experiences endless encounters with both. What is most disconcerting to everyone is how close they come to bears while fishing. 

The flight in and out of the Copper River negotiates the peaks of Lake Clark Pass and provides an up close and spectacular view of Mt Redoubt, an active volcano that erupted repeatedly in 2009 and could blow again at any moment. On the float out, uber-guide John Streeter gives his take on the Pebble Mine development, which, particularly in concert with Mt Redoubt, directly threatens this amazing watershed.